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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 9 - 15, 2002


WR Optimist 11s 
upset Meridian 
14-12 on gridiron

Win Western Division grid title

They are young, but they know how to win.

With a never-say-die attitude, the Wood River 11-year-old Optimist football team upset previously unbeaten Meridian White 14-12 to win the Western Division championship at Chuck Turner Field in Hailey Saturday.

The 11-year-old Optimists pose for a team photo after their huge win over Meridian. Front row, from left, Alexander Jones, Morgan Brashears, Gus Engelhardt, Kyle Mutzel, Graham Osburn, Clayton Jensen, Dustin Cook, Cody Chandler, Kevin Isaacs and Nate Hall. Middle row, from left, Bradley Dobie, Bryan Tidwell, Cody Caccia, Scotty Phelan, Hayden Waller, Michale Brunker, Patrick Gove, Christopher Falcone, Hunter Hertel, Daniel Syms and Joshua Berry. Coaches in the back row, from left, John Brashears, Martin Chandler, John Caccia and Jay Gove. Express photo by Willy Cook

With a crisp offense and talented athletes, Meridian would have made Tom Landry proud. The visiting squad rolled to a 12-0 lead at halftime, but Hailey coach John Brashears had confidence in his team which was also 4-0 heading into the game.

"Their offense was outplaying us, but we hung in there," Brashears said.

Hayden Waller of Wood River was a workhorse carrying the pigskin for the winners from Hailey. Express photo by Willy Cook

In the third quarter, Michale Brunker picked off a pass and jetted 50 yards to put Wood River on the board. Hayden Waller rushed for the crucial two-point conversion.

With 5:47 remaining and Meridian driving, defenders Chris Falcone and Scotty Phelan put a crushing hit on the ballcarrier causing a fumble.

Alexander Jones picked up the loose ball and went 60 yards for the go-ahead score.

"Our defense did not give up in the second half," Brashears said.

Defensive tackle Alexander Jones picks up a fumble and runs 60 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown against Meridian. Express photo by Willy Cook

Especially when Meridian had the ball and more than two minutes on the clock inside Hailey’s 30-yard line.

On the final play of the game, the Hailey defense stuffed Meridian on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line.

It was a great stand and a great win for Hailey—its first-ever victory over Meridian.

The victory gives Wood River (5-0) a berth in the American League Conference championship this coming weekend against Eagle Green, in Boise.

In other Wood River Optimist grid games last weekend:

10 year olds
CB Contractors of Boise nipped WR 8-6. Nick Chase and Tyler Peters did some excellent running. The offensive line blocked well. Leading the hard-hitting defense were Bobcat Molyneux, Danny Sundali and Keven Abbott.

9 year olds
Although the WR 9s outgained Meridian Gold, Meridian spoiled WR’s home finale 20-8. Good efforts were turned in by Kyle Jones, Ryan Chapman and Greg Lindbloom.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.